Burundi demands Belgium replace envoy: diplomat

9th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

The embattled government of Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza has demanded that Belgium replace its current ambassador, the Belgian foreign ministry told AFP on Friday.

The revocation of ambassador Marc Gedopt, first reported by French broadcaster RFI, comes just days after the Belgian government suspended several development projects in an effort to pressure Nkurunziza, who returned to power in July after controversial elections.

Burundi's envoy to Belgium confirmed the request to the cabinet of Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders, foreign ministry spokesman Didier Vanderhasselt told AFP.

Sources in Bujumbura told RFI that the government in Burundi requested the removal of the Belgian ambassador due to the "deterioration in trust" with Belgium, the country's biggest aid donor until the current crisis broke out.

Earlier this month, the European Union imposed sanctions against four Burundians charged with undermining democracy and blocking efforts to resolve the political crisis in the impoverished central African country.

Nkurunziza has fallen under increasing international pressure after he won a controversial third five-year term in polls boycotted by the opposition as unconstitutional for breaking a two-term limit.

The UN warned last month that Burundi risked sliding back into civil war after a dramatic rise in killings, arrests and detentions in the former Belgian protectorate since the runup to elections.

© 2015 AFP

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